In the Cemetery of Defense Mechanisms

Flowers among rocks on coastline, Maine. Photo: © Christopher Shade. All rights reserved.

Mine has the goliath mausoleum on the hill—
white marble, spruce-raked, in memoriam

of the syndicate that euthanized me just right,
saved me from his sick bitter, her infrequent

smothering—tribute to that geared vortex
of extraction, both swelling divine and familiar

like saying the word desk until you forget
what desk is. Reset. Safe and ready

for charm, despite girlfriend after
girlfriend taken, my wife even (it left

the Milky Way in her hands, majestic,
lifeless). Love, love, love, love, love,

love, love, love, love, love, love, what
even is love? Names filed, kissing

headstones, wreaths laid like you’re not
the one who offed them. My perfect

defense unhearted each tender clandestine
assassin, white blood cells fired

at only the best tissue. But she survived.
And I do not reset, do not admit

the demon voices, dissociative knives,
drills that made me droid—inert villain.

I can see the crypt from the street,
the flowered vault, vestibule for prayer,

but here in my wagon, I have collected
decades of knowing how to stay.

Matt Pasca reads “In the Cemetery of Defense Mechanisms”

From Cagibi Issue 1: Four Poems by Matt Pasca


Matt Pasca.jpeg

Matt Pasca is a poet, teacher and traveler who believes in art’s ability to foster discovery, empathy and justice. His first book-length collection, A Thousand Doors (2011), was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and his second, Raven Wire (2016), was selected as a Finalist for the 2017 Eric Hoffer Book Award. Individual poems have appeared in dozens of journals and anthologies, including Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art, Naugatuck River Review, Oberon, Paterson Literary Review, English Journal, Weave, Georgetown Review, Wordpeace and The Pedestal Magazine. A 2003 New York State Teacher of Excellence, Matt teaches Poetry, Mythology and Literature, advises an award-winning literary-art magazine, The Writers’ Block, and runs a visiting writers program at his school on Long Island. Pasca also curates Second Saturdays @Cyrus, a vibrant poetry series, with his wife, author Terri Muuss, and performs his work, keynotes, and teaches workshops at cafés, libraries, colleges, conferences and continuing Ed. programs around the country.

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